It’s the quintessential image that captures the emotions of millions of humans across the world: an adorable puppy, large ears framing its face and big eyes with a sad sparkle, a face so adorably crying, “please,” you can almost see the pout on its lip.
Yes, that sad puppy face and other adorable animal photos drive animal shelter adoptions and donations across the United States all year long.
But as someone inside a shelter or any animal-driven nonprofit, you know the stories waiting to be told go deeper than those cute pictures — and telling this stories is a great way to help more animals find their fur-ever homes.
How can you develop story-telling strategy that helps drive donations?
- Ask new adopters, “Why.” When people come in to fill out applications for to add a pet to their family, ask them why they are looking to grow their household by one additional furball. You may find winding emotional stories that drove a person to seek companionship that will inspire more adopters.
- Follow up with those adopters. Why? To follow up on the above — to find out more about how the animal has changed the life of its new family. Also, who knows what you’ll learn about the pet, and what sorts of adventures or accomplishments this animal can share since joining its forever home.
- Tell the animal’s story. Speaking of adventures, many animals have quite the life journey before the even arrive at your shelter’s doors. Telling the story from the viewpoint of the animal can be a unique way to capture your audiences’ attention and help humans relate.
- Talk to your volunteers. Find out what motivates them to donate their time, and specifically why they decided to dedicate time to helping out an animal rescue. The stories that inspired them are sure to inspire others.
- Share your shelter’s story. A lot happens behind the scenes at your shelter to make everything possible. Sharing these stories creates a transparency that also builds trust with your community, motivating them to seek their next pet from your shelter rather than seeking out a breeder or heading to another shelter in town.